Thursday, December 7, 2023

WeConservePA: Schuylkill River Trail's Auburn Gap Closes With Opening Of Auburn Bridge In Schuylkill County

A former Pennsylvania Railroad bridge in Auburn, Schuylkill County has been rehabilitated as part of the extension of the
Schuylkill River Trail. The historic plate girder bridge, which crosses the Schuylkill River, has been fitted with a new concrete trail deck and steel railings. 

This project closes the last remaining break of the trail in Auburn which is located near the borders of Berks and Schuylkill Counties. 

Eliminating the gap will create a 9.5-mile segment of the trail that will not only connect the two counties but also the towns of Auburn, Hamburg and Port Clinton.

Partners, funders, and the public gathered November 9th to welcome a large crowd and cut the ribbon on this major project.  

Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), DCNR Secretary Dunn, Rep. Jamie Barton (R-Schuylkill), and other federal and local officials shared remarks about the importance of this bridge to the trail and to the economies of both Berks and Schuylkill Counties. 

The new structure closes the “Auburn Gap,” as locals have been calling the project.

The initial stage of the project began in 2018 before facing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and easement issues.  The completed section of trail is a good indicator of the kind of trail that will eventually run all the way to its terminus in Frackville.  

Local bike clubs, neighbors, and even cyclists from Philadelphia are making use of the trail already.

Major partners and funders on the project included: Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the William Penn Foundation, the Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Schuylkill County, and Jeanne and Kenneth Porter.

Interested in visiting?  You can start at the Auburn Trailhead for a 3 mile roundtrip to the bridge, or be a little more adventurous and start at the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area Trailhead for about a 12 mile roundtrip.  Please note, there is no parking at the bridge and the trail in this area is surrounded by private property. 

Visit Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA for recreation areas near you.

(Reprinted from WeConservePA website.)

Related Articles: 

-- Western PA Conservancy Protects 410 Acres Of Forestland Along Clear Creek In Somerset County; Land Added To Forbes State Forest  [PaEN]

-- WeConservePA: New GIS Dashboard Displays 20 Years Of Land Trust Land Conservation Information

-- US DOT Awards Pennsylvania $840,000 To Develop Statewide Wildlife Crossings Plan  [PaEN]

[Posted: December 7, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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